Hepatitis 2

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B affects about 300,000 people and is responsible for around 300 deaths per year in the United States. Dr. Edward Hill continues his look at hepatitis in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Hepatitis B is one of the most easily spread forms of viral hepatitis. All types of hepatitis damage liver cells and can cause the liver to become swollen and tender. Hepatitis B can develop into a chronic disease and causes death in some patients.

Hepatitis B is transmitted by sexual contact and through blood contact such as sharing drug needles. An acute Hepatitis B infection usually goes away on its own without treatment. Once an acute infection is over, you are no longer contagious and you also develop antibodies against the virus.

Chronic infection occurs when the Hepatitis B virus continues to be present in your liver and blood for six months or more. Chronic Hepatitis B puts you at increased risk for developing serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Treatment of Hepatitis B viral infection depends on how active the virus is and whether you are at risk for liver damage such as cirrhosis. Treatment involves using antiviral medications to prevent liver damage.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.